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New assistant superintendent named to replace retiring Dr. Frye

Shannon Marlowe, in polkadot blouse, poses with instructional services team. Shannon Marlowe, in polkadot blouse, poses with instructional services team.

Shannon Marlowe, the Henderson County school system's director of Elementary Education & Title I, will succeed Wendy Frye as the district’s assistant superintendent for instructional services, effective Aug. 1, following Dr. Frye’s retirement.

“I’m thrilled to have Dr. Marlowe by my side as the district’s newest Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services,” said HCPS Superintendent Mark Garrett, who took his oath of office this morning. “In my time spent studying Henderson County Public Schools’ programming and operations, it became very clear that Dr. Marlowe’s expertise in the Instructional Services department made her the ideal candidate to lead the team moving forward.”

The Henderson County School Board approved the administrator appointment at Thursday morning’s special called school board meeting for end-of-year matters, after which Frye introduced Marlowe to the Instructional Services team.

On Thursday, Frye said, “We all know how intelligent and capable Dr. Marlowe is, evidenced by her excellence and leadership within the Instructional Services department these last eight years," Fryen said. "Furthermore, her character is exemplary. The Instructional Services team has full confidence in Dr. Marlowe’s leadership, and we will work side-by-side this next month to ensure a seamless transition.”

A homegrown product of the county's public schools, Marlowe graduated from West Henderson High and began assistant teaching at Mills River Elementary in 1995. She quickly transitioned into the fulltime classroom teacher role, taught for 10 years at Dana Elementary – where she was named the 1999-2000 Teacher of the Year, and earned the North Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics Outstanding Elementary Mathematics Teacher designation in 2003.

As an Instructional Coach for the district, Marlowe served multiple schools from 2005-2006, before becoming Lead Teacher at Glenn C. Marlow Elementary in 2006, and then principal of Hendersonville Elementary in 2008. A principal for six years, Marlowe moved to the Central Office in 2014 when she was named Director of Elementary Education. Since then, Marlowe has supervised and provided support to elementary administrators and teachers; in 2019 under her current title, Marlowe also began overseeing the administration of Title I Grant funds for Title I schools, providing school support regarding the funds and analysis of student outcomes.

During her tenure, Marlowe has led and trained elementary principals and educators in launching new curriculum, including the 2016-17 implementation of the district-wide phonics program, Letterland, to support consistent learning of basic foundational literacy skills for students in grades K-2. A creative innovator, Marlowe collaborated with the Flat Rock Playhouse to bring the alphabet characters from the Letterland© to life, through the original musical “Letterland Alive!” developed for HCPS students.

As Director of Elementary Education & Title I, Marlowe has also been responsible for implementing new N.C. Department of Public Instruction initiatives for elementary grades. Most recently in 2021-2022, she was proactive in planning and initiating the districtwide rollout of the state-required literacy professional development for K-5 teachers, Learning Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS), putting a cohort of HCPS elementary teachers and administrators ahead of the state’s required implementation dates.

Marlowe has also worked closely with early education community partners to improve the transition of children across Henderson County into kindergarten, including leading the READY! Kindergarten Transition team that collaborates to increase pre-K parent access to early education and kindergarten readiness resources.

"I'm honored for the opportunity to serve the educators, students and parents of HCPS in this capacity," she said. "I could not ask for a better Instructional Services Team to carry out this work as we support our schools, and I truly value the mentorship and expertise of former HCPS educators who have mentored me along the way."

Locally, Marlowe also serves on the boards for Smart Start Partnership for Children, the WNC Source Policy Council and Historic Johnson Farm. She holds a master’s degree in School Administration from Gardner-Webb University, an EdD in Educational Leadership from Western Carolina University, and holds a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification.